by Marlowe Evans/Special to The News
“The eyes of all future generations are upon you. And if you choose to fail us, I say we will never forgive you.”
Those were the words spoken by 16-year-old climate activist Greta Thunberg at the United Nations Climate Action Summit in New York last week, and she is right.
Action on climate change is a choice that governments around the world are choosing not to make.
More than 100,000 people showed up to last Friday’s Climate Strike in Vancouver, which was synchronized with protests across the globe. It is estimated that between four and six million people worldwide went on strike last Friday, demanding action for climate change.
But people have known about climate change for decades. Why is it such a big deal all of a sudden?
To put it simply, it’s because now we’re in real danger. Major groups such as the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (a multinational body of the UN) have made it perfectly clear that the earth is dying.
Science has made it perfectly clear for a long time, but now we’re running out of time to reverse or even minimize the damage humanity has done to our planet. That’s half of what’s changed. The other half? Young people have started to realize the true nature of the climate crisis, and we’re scared and we’re angry.
There are people who say climate change isn’t real. There are people who say climate change has nothing to do with humanity’s impact on the environment.
As a journalist, as an educated young person, and as a resident of this planet, I have no time for people with these opinions, not in this column, not in real life, and most certainly, not in politics. It’s no longer the time for gentle conversations and debates where people who are willfully ignorant are allowed to play devil’s advocate.
Speaking at the UN, Thunberg, who began the School Climate Strikes in Sweden in August 2018, said, “You say you hear us and that you understand the urgency [of climate change], but no matter how sad and angry I am, I do not want to believe that. Because if you really understood the situation and still kept on failing to act, then you would be evil and that I refuse to believe.”
My generation was raised on the principles of reduce, reuse, recycle.
We were taught to compost, to turn down the thermostat and put on a sweater, to turn off the lights when we leave a room, to take as short a shower as possible (and in cold water if we could bear it).
Our entire lives, we’ve been surrounded by images of icecaps melting, deforestation, and dying coral reefs, while at the same time being taught about the beauty of the Canadian North.
Why is anyone surprised that teenagers and young adults are outraged at the actions being taken by governments and corporations?
– Marlowe Evans is a student at the University of New Brunswick from Maple Ridge who writes about youth issues.